3 posts • joined Tuesday 21st July 2009 10:11 GMT
re: Quick - can anyone...
They've learned how to build a large orbiting modular space station, and how to perform on-orbit repairs and maintenance. Pretty essential skills for any serious extra-orbital missions, I'd imagine.
Give the private sector a hand
Surprisingly, only a couple of people have mentioned the private sector. Several companies are now getting close to having a private manned capability to reach low Earth orbit, and heavy lift to LEO is clearly in the private sector's reach. What NASA needs to do is continue basic research into cutting edge technologies that can help us get into and through space more easily, and promote the boring stuff like a positive legislative and investment environment.
There shouldn't be any need for NASA to build new rockets to reach orbit. Use the private sector and build interplanetary craft in LEO. The ISS has shown we could do that, even if we're still working on the plumbing.
And one last thing. Stop trying to go it alone, Merkins. Interplanetary exploration is way to expensive for any single nation to build anything more than a flag-waving exercise, even the Chinese. Look how hard it's been to keep the ISS funded, and imagine that scaled up to a Moon or Mars mission. Obama's right to think the Constellation/Ares programme is just another Bush propaganda exercise, but with some imagination he could turn it around.